ABOUT THIS BOOK
Ever since 1968 a single iconic image of race in American sport has remained indelibly etched on our collective memory: sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos accepting medals at the Mexico City Olympics with their black-gloved fists raised and heads bowed. But what inspired their protest? What happened after they stepped down from the podium? And how did their gesture impact racial inequalities?
Drawing on extensive archival research and newly gathered oral histories, Douglas Hartmann sets out to answer these questions, reconsidering this pivotal event in the history of American sport. He places Smith and Carlos within the broader context of the civil rights movement and the controversial revolt of the black athlete. Although the movement drew widespread criticism, it also led to fundamental reforms in the organizational structure of American amateur athletics. Moving from historical narrative to cultural analysis, Hartmann explores what we can learn about the complex relations between race and sport in contemporary America from this episode and its aftermath.